Sullen Guest – ‘Phase Tasters’

Welcome to the teaser tracks, ‘Voice Of The Subconscious’ and ‘Assent’, from the forthcoming album, ‘Phase’, 4th album release by Lithuanian death/doom band, Sullen Guest.

Aptly titled, ‘Phase’ represents the stages within the cycle of grief and bereavement, also symbolising other associated emotional losses. The band members chosen names portray those same emotions.

A couple of line-up changes have followed the most recent 2021 release. Building on that last album, ‘Phase’ is infused with greater vocal feeling and laced with even more bass groove. Some of the tracks featured are instrumentals, with extra depth and gravitas. Those tracks are exclusively CD format. The intro to featured track, ‘Come With Me’ is already out, on YouTube.

‘Phase’ will be launched, in its entirety, later this year.

Voice Of The Subconscious – Very bleak, death vocals intro. Slow-paced accompaniments, with grief, sadness and melancholia laced right through them. An exercise in desolation. The male vocals are joined by lighter, feminine vocals, just before they hit that raw tone. Very trollish, honey monster vocals, perform impenetrable lyrics. A palpable drop in mood and tone, through which, the lowering of key and feel’s almost visual. Just a deeply blackened sound. Quite repetitive and while it does as claimed, it’s not a sound likely to appeal to many, unless in the throes of grief, themselves. In itself, it’s a good performance, in technical terms, showcasing more than adequate skill. Just thoroughly depressing, but it may help some to relate and get through similar phases. There’s melody, but it’s all very downbeat, which although intended, just doesn’t encourage further listens.

Assent – Explosive intro, this time, with a clearer Blaze Bayley-esque metallic thread, audible, through the solemnity. Now the metal emphasis builds, climbing higher, within the darkness. Here’s where the guitars sing, especially from 1/4 in. Still very dark vocals, but some light’s visible, to some extent, at least. The pace increases, in places, as the melody remains. Pained screams precede softer, feminine vocals, briefly, before both yield to the music. Symbolically, it’s a good representation of the struggles inherent in grief and this track at least offers hope of better times to come.

Overall – There’s no question that both ‘VOTS’ and ‘Assent’ convey a lot of musical and technical proficiency and real sincerity. However, the general bleakness and despair inherent in ‘VOTS’, at least, wouldn’t incentivise me to re-listen. ‘Assent’ provides a clearer glimpse into the possibility of hope, on the horizon and on that level, it’s a more melodically tolerable sound. A prospect helped by its uncannily ‘While You Were Gone’-esque riff section, likely to catch the attention of fellow Blaze fans. Ultimately, may be worth listening to the album in full, but as dexterous as it is, I’m happy to pass this one by.

7/10 *******

For fans of Bellhead, Latitudes, MANES, Immortal Empire, Def-Con-One, Goliath, Blaze Bayley’s ‘The Man Who Would Not Die’ era.

Posted January 9, 2022 by jennytate in Uncategorized

%d bloggers like this: